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is it a gringo cop-out to stay at the Ghent Marriott?

In Europe I almost always prefer European hotels and/or B&B's with some charm, and to not be in a corporate environment with 14 euro wine by the glass being enjoyed by expense-account conventioners - too much of that already in real life.

But on my two night dates in Ghent the Marriott is a pretty damn good deal, same price as many other more outlying hotels a star or two down the ladder.

So do I say yep, I'll take air-conditioned, centrally located American corporate perfection for a couple of nights and not worry about blunting the local vibe.

Or nope, gonna keep looking and stay in a place that has a little more soul and ambiance, even if not as luxurious or central for the same $$$?

thanks!

Posted by
2400 posts

For us, location nearly always trumps "ambiance and soul". Especially if it's only for a couple of nights. I can get all the local colour and ambiance (and less expensive wine) while I'm out and about during the day and evening. We're staying at enough other places, with local charm up the wazoo (including a chateau and a palazzo) ; so I didn't even flinch when I booked a centrally located Mercure in Munich.

Posted by
486 posts

Only you can really answer that question. My husband has earned hotel points over the years and we have mixed stays with those large chain hotels along with locally owned properties on each of our visits. It did not make our trips any less enjoyable overall and allowed us to save for other splurges while we were there without any guilt.

Posted by
1929 posts

I say yes to the Ghent Marriott. Location, even with American corporate perfection, trumps soul and ambience further away from the City Center.

I know what you mean though, we once spent a night at the Zurich Airport Hilton and the second part of your first sentence describes it to a "t".

Posted by
393 posts

We stayed 2 nights at the Crowne Plaza in Bruges. We stayed using points. My one regret is that we didn't have more points. It was dead center in historic Bruges. It even had some historic site in the basement open to the public. When you stepped outside the door there was this awesome market plus all the shops.

Don't worry about having to do and be Europe every moment of your trip. And if it is a cop-out, who cares. It's your money, your trip, your life.

Posted by
3535 posts

Hec k, enjoy yourself if Ghent Marriott works then sure stay there. It is alwys nice to have a tad more comfort american style, enjoy!

Posted by
6387 posts

Gringo does not apply to North Americans staying in European countries where everyone is of similar perceived status or background. Belgium is considered by would be gringos to be in the 1st world.

Posted by
255 posts

Gringos are gringos everywhere they go. It refers to people from the US.

Posted by
80 posts

The Ghent Marriott is a very comfortable hotel in an excellent location. I see no reason not to stay there. I certainly enjoyed it. The staff are Belgian (or more generally European), if that helps.

Posted by
11415 posts

The staff are Belgian (or more generally European)

More accurately, they're probably Flemish unless transplanted Walloons.

Posted by
784 posts

I had the same decision, and ultimately have chosen to stay in Cologne at the Marriott (great location and good price) and in Zurich at the Airport Hilton (location and points) for the reasons described. We'll catch charm and local vibe during the other 13 nights. You have to do what works best for your situation, and you don't have to answer to anyone. :)

Posted by
4669 posts

For two nights, it's fine. I'd point out that a "good location" in Belgium can take into account the walking distance to the train station. I personally prefer to stay in Antwerp and daytrip to Gent, but it's a matter of opinion. There are so many towns for daytrips that waiting for the bus in the morning crowds can be an annoyance - depending on your overall itinerary.

OTOH, and on-topic, I rather like the very modern Antwerp Hilton, despite its consistent high prices. I find the very long walk to the Centraal Station pleasant, even with a rolling bag. Gent has its own attractions, like lower prices. But I don't find it as rich a destination as Antwerp.

Posted by
5159 posts

"Gringos are gringos everywhere they go. It refers to people from the US."

Hmmm. Guess my half latino heritage eliminates me from being a gringo although born and raised in the US of A.

Posted by
6684 posts

have chosen to stay in Cologne at the Marriott
Good choice, Celeste. I was so black and blue knocking into everything in the tiny, quaint room of the RS-recommended hotel we had in Cologne, that I overjoyed with the Mercure in Trier. This "quaint" place might have been fine when a tour group showed up, but it had no one on duty except for breakfast, no one to ask for soap and tp, and we were even alone in the hotel one night! Sometimes charm is overrated and Marriott looks good.

Posted by
3212 posts

This isn't the greatest Wikipedia article I've ever seen, but it sure makes the gringo/gringa concept more complicated than what I grew up with in San Antonio. At the bottom there are links to many other similar terms. I particularly liked the one called, "Use of the word American," since I've always thought anyone from North, Central or South America was an American.

Posted by
11415 posts

This "quaint" place might have been fine when a tour group showed up,
but it had no one on duty except for breakfast, no one to ask for soap
and tp, and we were even alone in the hotel one night!

Hotel accommodations with no desk staff 24/7 can be interesting. We stayed in one in Aachen 2 years ago, and just happened to be outside having an early-morning smoke when the woman who needed to open up appeared (late) without her key to even get inside the building. We had to let her in. The cook was late as well as SHE wasn't there when HE arrived for work, also without a key.

Breakfast was a little delayed. :O)

We've stayed in a couple of more modern-type hotels in Europe and must admit that a wee bit more room and and a few extra amenities (Holy Hannah!! A coffee maker!!!) were a nice change. That's not to say we didn't enjoy most others as well. If it came down to price/location? No shame in choosing the chain over similarly priced B&Bs or boutique hotels. How many hours do you spend in the thing anyway?

Posted by
1878 posts

Absolutely, go for it. You can get a reasonably priced cocktail at a nearby bar or café. You're not selling out, sometimes it's nice to stay in a business class hotel. Make a rational choice based upon your own utility curve. My wife and I stayed for five nights in London on Hilton points, two nights in Athens on another trip. Both were great!.

Posted by
12084 posts

The only times I would even consider staying at a Hilton or Marriott in Europe is when there is absolutely nothing around or if the price for a single were that offered normal at a two star hotel, ie a dirt cheap promo price, otherwise the Marriott and Hilton are rejected as options.

Posted by
329 posts

It's no cop out. We save our Marriott points and use them in the more expensive places to supplement our lodging so our vacation dollars go farther. Since Venice is pricey we are using the points for the JW Marriott. In Tuscany we'll stay at an agriturismo, in Orvieto and Rome we'll have a B and B, and in Sorrento we'll have an apartment. I don't think we're missing anything.

Posted by
3904 posts

Some of the best hotels I've stayed at have been Marriott, my favourite being the Grande Flora in Rome. The best lounge experience was in the Budapest Marriott, unlimited complimentary champagne, foie gras and other very good food offerings, a complete contrast to the lounge offerings in the US. I've also experienced some crappy, 'local' hotels in Europe so no, there is absolutely no shame in staying in a Marriott.

Posted by
106 posts

Thanks so much for all the opinions! Not sure I've landed anywhere solid yet but fun to hear what you all think.

Re the "gringo" thing, I had no specific point to make with it, just liked the sound of the phrase 'gringo cop out," should have been the name of my band in college :)

Posted by
1480 posts

I know Rick is against these hotels but since I travel domestically for work I get points on US hotel companies that I use to allow me to stay in Europe for free. Works great for me.

Posted by
323 posts

I understand your dilemma, because we try to follow the same principles when we travel.

But last summer in Amsterdam, we stayed 2 nights in a cute apartment in the de Pijp neighborhood--very quaint, full of locals, and a huge pain in the neck to get to. Too far to walk, and the trams were always packed. But it had lots of charm.

Then there was a mishap with the apartment and we had to change lodgings at the last minute. Not much choice, so we ended up at the Doubletree next to the train station.

The room was OK, but it had a great view. The hotel has a rooftop bar with even better views. We were steps from the train station and walkable to other tourist spots. I loved it!

So, I agree: a convenient location makes up for a lot of other things. You'll have so much more time to do what you want.

And no matter what you decide, don't look back. Make your decision and go have fun!

Posted by
442 posts

To me a room is just the place where I crash after walking all day. Considering how little time you will be spending there it really does not matter what kind of room it is. Location, price and hospitality are more important to me.

Posted by
46 posts

In a nutshell, yes......

With all the smaller family run options, why, oh why, stay in a corporate type hotel?

Posted by
46 posts

In a nutshell, yes......

With all the smaller family run options, why, oh why, stay in a corporate type hotel?

Posted by
46 posts

In a nutshell, yes......

With all the smaller family run options, why, oh why, stay in a corporate type hotel?

Posted by
7109 posts

rjrietkerk, he explained why.

Makes sense to me, I would. And very happily too.